Idaho stop

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A red light...
...is treated like a stop sign.

The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign.[1] It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but was not adopted elsewhere until Delaware adopted a limited stop-as-yield law in 2017.[2] In 2018, Colorado passed a law standardizing the language municipalities or counties would use for a local Idaho Stop or Stop as Yield law, with certain statewide limits.[3] "Stop as Yield", a version that deals only with stop signs, has also expanded to parts of Colorado and been considered in several other states. Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way.[4]

History[edit]

The original Idaho yield law was introduced as Idaho HB 541 during a comprehensive revision of Idaho Traffic laws in 1982. At that time, minor traffic offenses were criminal offenses and there was a desire to downgrade many of these to "civil public offenses" to free up docket time.

Carl Bianchi, then the Administrative Director of the Courts in Idaho, saw an opportunity to attach a modernization of the bicycle law onto the larger revision of the traffic code. He drafted a new bicycle code that would more closely conform with the Uniform Vehicle Code, and included new provisions allowing cyclists to take the lane, or to merge left, when appropriate. Addressing the concerns of the state's magistrates, who were concerned that "technical violations" of traffic control device laws by cyclists were cluttering the court, the draft also contained a provision that allowed cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign—the so-called "rolling stop law." The new bicycle law passed in 1982, despite objections among some cyclists and law enforcement officers.

In 2006, the law was modified to specify that cyclists must stop on red lights and yield before proceeding straight through the intersection, and before turning left at an intersection. This had been the original intent, but Idaho law enforcement officials wanted it specified.[5] The law originally passed with an education provision, but that was removed in 1988 because "youthful riders quickly adapted to the new system and had more respect for a law that legalized actual riding behavior."[6]

In 2001, Joel Fajans, a physics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Melanie Curry, a magazine editor, published an essay entitled "Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs" on why rolling stops were better for cyclists and it provided greater interest in the Idaho law.[7]

The first effort to enact the law outside of Idaho was started in Oregon in 2003, when the Idaho law still only applied to stop signs.[8] While it overwhelmingly passed in the House, it never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee.[9] The Oregon effort in turn inspired an investigation of the law by the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission in 2008.[10] That investigation failed to spawn legislation, but it did garner national attention, which led to similar efforts nationwide.

The term "Idaho Stop" came into use as a result of the California effort in 2008. Prior to that, it was called "Idaho Style" or "Roll-and-go." "Idaho Stop" was first used by the bicycle blogger Richard Masoner in June 2008 coverage of the San Francisco proposal, but in reference to the "Idaho Stop Law."[11] In August of the same year, the term - now in quotes - first showed up in print in a Christian Science Monitor article by Ben Arnoldy who referred to the "so-called 'Idaho stop' rule."[12] Soon after, the term "Idaho stop" was commonly being used as a noun, not a modifier.

Positions[edit]

Advocates for Idaho stop laws argue that they improve safety. Two studies of the Idaho stop show that it is measurably safer. One study showed that it resulted in 14% fewer crashes and another indicated that Idaho has less severe crashes.[13][14] Similarly, tests of a modified form of the Idaho Stop in Paris "found that allowing the cyclists to move more freely cut down the chances of collisions with cars, including accidents involving the car's blind spot."[15] And, less definitively, a study of rolling stops in Seattle determined that "these results support the theoretical assertion that bicyclists are capable of making safe decisions regarding rolling stop,"[16] while a 2013 survey of stop as yield in Colorado localities where it is legal reported no increase in crashes.[17] Another study done in Chicago showed that compliance with stop signs and stop lights by cyclists was low when cross-traffic was not present, but that most were still performing an Idaho Stop; and therefore "enforcing existing rules at these intersections would seem arbitrary and capacious(sic)."[18] Some supporters maintain that changing the legal duties of cyclists provides direction to law enforcement to focus attention where it belongs—on unsafe cyclists (and motorists).[19] Additionally, some claim that, because bicycle laws should be designed to allow cyclists to travel swiftly and easily, the Idaho stop provision allows for the conservation of energy.[20]

Opponents of the law maintain that a uniform, unambiguous set of laws that apply to all road users is easier for children to understand[21] and allowing cyclists to behave by a separate set of rules than drivers makes them less predictable and thus, less safe.[21] Jack Gillette, former president of the Boise Bicycle Commuters Association, argued that bicyclists should not have greater freedoms than drivers. "Bicyclists want the same rights as drivers, and maybe they should have the same duties," he said.[22] San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee argued that the law "directly endangers pedestrians and cyclists" in his veto of a similar law in his city.[23]

Examples and legislative history[edit]

Idaho is both the largest and longest practitioner of the stop-as-yield, and the only practitioner of the red-as-stop. Mark McNeese, Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department says that "Idaho bicycle-collision statistics confirm that the Idaho law has resulted in no discernible increase in injuries or fatalities to bicyclists."

In 2012, a decree in Paris allowed cyclists in that city to turn right or, if there is no street to the right, proceed straight ahead on red, under the condition that they "exercise caution" and yield to pedestrians, after road safety experts deemed the measure would reduce collisions.[24] During the summer of 2015, Paris law was modified to allow cyclists to treat certain stop lights as yield signs as allowed by signage. The change only applied to right turns or going straight at a T-junction.[25]

In parts of Colorado, the stop-as-yield law is in place. In 2011, the cities of Dillon and Breckenridge, Colorado, passed stop-as-yield laws,[26] in 2012 Summit County passed a similar law for its unincorporated areas,[27] and in 2014, the City of Aspen passed one as well.[28] Fort Collins considered the same law in 2013, but declined.[29] In 2018, the state passed a law standardizing the language municipalities or counties could use to pass an Idaho Stop or Stop-as-yield ordinance and preventing it from appling to any state highway system. The act requires the cyclist to go through the intersection at a reasonable speed and sets the reasonable speed limit at 15 mph, but a municipality or county could reduce it to 10 mph or raise it to 20 mph at any individual intersection.[30]

In 2017, 35 years after Idaho, Delaware became only the second U.S. state to pass an Idaho Stop law.[31]. Delaware's law - known as the "Delaware Yield" - makes stop-as-yield legal, but it only applies on roads with one or two travel lanes. Cyclists must come to a complete stop at stop sign-controlled intersections with multi-lane roads.

Many states have laws allowing cyclists (and motorcyclists) to stop at and then proceed through a red light if the light doesn't change due to the inability of the embedded sensors in the ground to detect them. Such laws often require that the cyclist stop, confirm that there is no oncoming traffic, and proceed after waiting a certain amount of time or cycles of the light. These are known as "Dead Red" laws.[32]

Since 2003, Idaho stop style bills, or resolutions asking the state to pass one, have been introduced in Oregon,[9] San Francisco,[33] Minnesota,[34] Arizona,[35] Montana,[36] Utah,[37] Washington DC,[38] New York City,[39] Santa Fe,[40] Oklahoma,[41] Edmonton,[42] Colorado,[43] California[44] and Arkansas[45] with varying degrees of legislative progress.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Szczepanski, Carolyn (2013-05-18). "Bike Law University". League of American Bicyclists. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  2. ^ "Best Bike Laws in the Country? Check Out Delaware". Bike Law.
  3. ^ Swanson, Sady (7 May 2018). "With new state law, Fort Collins cyclists may be legally rolling through stop signs soon". Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ Bialick, Aaron. "Bikes Are Not Cars: Why California Needs an "Idaho Stop" Law | Streetsblog San Francisco". Sf.streetsblog.org. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  5. ^ Bernardi, Rick (March 7, 2009). "Origins of Idaho's "Stop as Yield" Law". BicycleLaw.com. Bob Mionske. Retrieved 2014-02-15.
  6. ^ Thomas, Ray (December 2008). "History of Idaho's stop sign law" (PDF). BTAOregon.org. Retrieved 2014-02-15.
  7. ^ Fajans, Joel (2001). "Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs". Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology Newsletter.
  8. ^ "Cyclists Rights - READ". Portland Independent Media Center. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b Maus, Jonathan. "Roll-and-go stop sign bill passed the House in 2003". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  10. ^ Stop Sign and Traffic Signal Changes for Cyclists
  11. ^ Masoner, Richard. "California to consider Idaho stop law?". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  12. ^ Arnoldy, Ben (August 25, 2008). "New bike commuters hit the classroom, then the road". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  13. ^ Meggs, Jason N. "Bicycle Safety and Choice: Compounded Public Cobenefits of the Idaho Law Relaxing Stop Requirements for Cycling". Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  14. ^ Whyte, Brandon. "The Idaho Stop Law and the Severity of Bicycle Crashes: A Comparative Study" (PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Paris to let cyclists skip red lights". 8 July 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  16. ^ Bicyclists' Stopping Behaviors: An Observational Study of Bicyclists' Patterns and Practices, Catherine Marie Caverly Silva, 2015
  17. ^ Greegor, Teesa. "Stop as Yield | Idaho Stop Considerations for Fort Collins". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  18. ^ Caldwell, Jenna; O'Neil, Riley; Schwieterman, Joseph P.; Yanocha, Dana. "POLICIES FOR PEDALING Managing the Tradeoff between Speed & Safety for Biking in Chicago" (PDF). las.depaul.edu. CHADDICK INSTITUTE FOR METROPOLITAN DEVELOPMENT AT DEPAUL UNIVERSITY. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Making Better Laws | Road Rights | Bicycling.com". Blogs.bicycling.com. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  20. ^ Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs, Joel Fajansan and Melanie Curry, 2001
  21. ^ a b Takemoto-Weerts, David (2010-02-03). "CABO » Argument Against an Idaho Style "Stop as Yield" Law for Bicyclists". Cabobike.org. Retrieved 2014-02-16."It.. violates one of the primary elements of traffic safety: predictability."
  22. ^ Bernardi, Rick. "ORIGINS OF IDAHO'S "STOP AS YIELD" LAW". bicyclelaw.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. as stated by Former rolling stop supporter Jack Gillette, then-President of the Boise Bicycle Commuters Association
  23. ^ Morse, Jack. "Mayor Vetoes 'Idaho Stop' Law As Promised". sfist.com. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  24. ^ Samuel, Henry. "Paris cyclists given right to break traffic laws". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  25. ^ Schofield, Hugh (11 August 2015). "The city that lets cyclists jump red lights". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  26. ^ "Yield-Stop Bicycling Laws for Aspen and Denver? | Daniel R. Rosen, P.C". Danielrrosen.com. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  27. ^ "Ordinance No. 2012-09". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  28. ^ "Bike riders will be able to yield legally at stop signs around Aspen". AspenTimes.com. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  29. ^ "Fort Collins Bicycle Advisory Committee puts the brakes on stop-as-yield". Coloradoan.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-16. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  30. ^ Sachs, David (16 April 2018). "Colorado House Passes Bicycle "Safety Stop" Bill". Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Best Bike Laws in the Country? Check out Delaware | Bike Law". www.bikelaw.com. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  32. ^ Talia (30 April 2014). "16 States Pass "Dead Red" Laws, Allowing Cyclists To Run Red Lights". cdlife. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  33. ^ Rosenberg, Mike (June 18, 2008). "Proposal would change rules for bicyclists at stop signs". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  34. ^ "HF 4245 Status in the House for the 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008)". Revisor.leg.state.mn.us. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  35. ^ "Idaho-style stop law fizzles out in Arizona: A bad sign for Oregon?". BikePortland.org. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  36. ^ "Montana House of Representatives : Committee on Transportation" (PDF). Leg.mt.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  37. ^ "Bill allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs clears first hurdle". 13 February 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  38. ^ Barnes, Daniel (8 June 2016). "Council Drops 'Stop as Yield' Provision From Bike Bill". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  39. ^ Fried, Ben (24 November 2015). "Antonio Reynoso: Let's Talk About Bike Laws That Make Sense for NYC Streets". Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  40. ^ Chacon, Daniel (11 January 2016). "Would the 'Idaho stop' bring safety to Santa Fe bicyclists?". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  41. ^ "Oklahoma House Bill 2999". legiscan. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  42. ^ Stolte, Elise (28 September 2016). "Edmonton council committee votes to fast track cycle tracks, let cyclists roll through stop signs". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  43. ^ St. George, Joe (9 February 2017). "Colorado Republicans kill bill allowing cyclists to go through stop signs". Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  44. ^ Stewart, Joshua (22 February 2017). "New bill would let bicyclists roll through stop signs". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  45. ^ Omen, Noel (1 March 2017). "Proposal to let Arkansas cyclists glide, not stop, at intersections falters". Retrieved 1 March 2017.

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